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The Effects of Chronic Right Hemispheric Damage on the Allocation of Spatial Attention: Alterations of Accuracy and Reliability

  • Glen R. Finney (a1), John B. Williamson (a1), D. Brandon Burtis (a1), John B. Williamson (a1), D. Brandon Burtis (a1), Valeria Drago (a1) (a2), Tomoyuki Mizuno (a1), Yong Jeong (a1), Gregory P. Crucian (a1), Salsabil Haque (a1) and Kenneth M. Heilman (a1)...

Abstract

Right hemispheric damage (RHD) caused by strokes often induce attentional disorders such as hemispatial neglect. Most patients with neglect over time have a reduction in their ipsilesional spatial attentional bias. Despite this improvement in spatial bias, many patients remain disabled. The cause of this chronic disability is not fully known, but even in the absence of a directional spatial attentional bias, patients with RHD may have an impaired ability to accurately and precisely allocate their spatial attention. This inaccuracy and variable directional allocation of spatial attention may be revealed by repeated performance on a spatial attentional task, such as line bisection (LBT). Participants with strokes of their right versus left (LHD) hemisphere along with healthy controls (HC) performed 24 consecutive trials of 24 cm horizontal line bisections. A vector analysis of the magnitude and direction of deviations from midline, as well as their standard deviations (SD), were calculated. The results demonstrated no significant difference between the LHD, RHD and HC groups in overall spatial bias (mean bisection including magnitude and direction); however, the RHD group had a significantly larger variability of their spatial errors (SD), and made larger errors (from midline) than did the LHD and HC groups. There was a curvilinear relationship between the RHD participants’ performance variability and their severity of their inaccuracy. Therefore, when compared to HC and LHD, the RHD subjects’ performance on the LBT is more variable and inaccurate. (JINS, 2015, 21, 373–377)

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Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Glen R. Finney, University of Florida, McKnight Brain Institute, P.O. Box 100236, Gainesville, FL 32610-0236, USA. E-mail: finney@neurology.ufl.edu

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